Pine Mountain, GA – Twenty-four notable plein air (French for “open air”) artists from across the United States were invited to Callaway Gardens last week to capture the beauty of spring on canvas.
These acrylic, oil, and water painters had more than 20,000 blooming azaleas at their disposal to entice their creative senses at the Pine Mountain, Georgia resort area.
Winnetka, Illinois native Sallie M. Stanley has been painting the town, so to speak, for about twenty years.
“I became allergic to oil, so I mostly paint with water now, although I do enjoy painting figures in acrylics,” said Stanley.
Having summered in northern Michigan for most of her life, Stanley has been entranced by the mysterious beauty and light of the Leelanau Peninsula from a very young age.
“I have found endless inspiration for watercolor landscape painting both in Michigan and in subsequent travels,” she said. “There is an energy and a joy that come from painting in the landscape – a celebration of life itself.”
Not only did the painters practice their craft all week, but some also made lasting friendships. Stanley met fellow artist Mary Erickson from Marshville, North Carolina, and they “just clicked.”
“We instantly became close friends,” Erickson said. “It’s like we’ve known each other forever.”
Growing up in Connecticut, Erickson sketched the beaches of Long Island Sound and sold her first painting in Gulf Western Industries in Stanford at age 13.
“I approach a scene with the intention of not only recording the visual elements of it, but responding to the environment, and capturing that moment in time by being fully present,” she said. “I believe the emotion of the landscape is distilled through the artist’s experience, so it is often not a literal translation but a filtered rendition of all five senses.”
Other invited artists to Callaway Gardens included Perry Austin (Goodwater, AL), Jacobus Baas (Laguna Beach, CA), Bucky Bowles (Fortson, GA), Roger Dale Brown (Franklin, TN), John Lasater (Siloam Springs, AR), Richard Millman (Auburn, AL), Larry Moore (Winter Park, FL), Richard Oversmith (Asheville, NC), Karen Stewart (Columbus, GA), and Jo Ann Williams Walker (Panama City, FL).
“The artists not only spent time painting the beauty at Callaway Gardens, but went to other public and private gardens in the region, including Columbus, LaGrance and Atlanta,” said Edward Callaway, chairman of the board for the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation.
The artists completed a painting a day during their six-day stay and chose three for exhibition at the art show and sale on Saturday, April 17. Funds that were raised at the event will benefit the foundation, the non-profit parent organization that owns and operates Callaway Gardens.
Article by Melissa Parker
© 2010 Our Prattville. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written consent of the publisher.